Although sea turtle nesting season officially started May 1, Volusia County managed beaches already had three leatherback nests. One of them, which was discovered April 2, is the earliest recorded sea turtle nest on county managed beaches.
With water temperatures warming up quickly, hundreds of sea turtles will be emerging from the surf to lay eggs on the beach in the next few months.
During the nesting season, oceanfront property owners are required to shield, redirect or turn off lights so they don’t shine on the beach.
Tips to Protect Nesting Sea Turtles and Nests
Residents and visitors can also help save sea turtle lives by following these tips on the beach:
- Do not touch or disturb sea turtles or their nests. It’s important that hatchlings make their own way to the ocean.
- Do not disturb the dune system or plants. Use designated beach access points and do not walk on the dunes.
- When driving at the beach, use the designated traffic lanes and parking areas. Beach driving access hours are from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. throughout the nesting season, tide permitting.
- Do not use flash photography or cellphones to light your way at night. Use only red LED flashlights; they are less visible to turtle eyes.
- Flatten sandcastles, fill in holes, and take your chairs, equipment and trash with you. This is an easy way to reduce obstacles faced by sea turtles.
- Do not use fireworks.
- If you see a nesting adult sea turtle or hatchlings making their way to the ocean, admire them from a safe distance.
Nesting season runs through Oct. 31. During a typical year, 400 to 500 nests are laid in Volusia County. Last year’s season was the fourth highest nesting season on record, with 780 nests counted.
Turtle Watch Reservations Begin May 15, 2022
Starting Sunday, May 15 at 9:00 a.m., staff at Canaveral National Seashore will begin taking telephone reservations for this year’s summer Turtle Watch programs. The number to call is (386) 428-3384 ext. 248.
The programs are open to all persons eight (8) years of age and older. Programs are limited to thirty (30) persons per night with a maximum of six (6) persons per reservation call. The fee for this program is $14.00 per person ages 16 and above, 15 and under are free. Persons with Access or a Senior Pass receive a 50% discount for the cardholder only. Children must be 8 years old to participate. While visitors are not guaranteed a view of a nesting sea turtle, the 2017 success rate exceeded 90%. Fees will not be refunded if a sea turtle is not found. During the summer, programs are scheduled on most Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.
The programs for 2022 will be provided in both districts of the seashore, the Playalinda District , Titusville and the Apollo district, New Smyrna Beach, programs will run from 8:00 p.m. until Midnight. Please have several dates in mind when you call, and we ask that you keep your calls brief. Further information and instruction will be sent to you within two (2) weeks of your phone call. Turtle Watch programs give park visitors a unique opportunity to learn about sea turtles and the role that the National Park Service plays in their conservation.
For more info on Canaveral National Seashore, click here.
For more info on local sea turtle population and protection, visit VolusiaSeaTurtles.org.